It's Time For Me To Talk About Tips/Donations Again.

in Steem Think Tanklast year (edited)


Since I recently dipped my toe into the LBRY pool and their system which is 100% tip/donation based I think it's time for me to bring this up again. If you follow me you might remember me mentioning this a few times in the past.

THIS is how we save Steem.

I Can't See How You Don't See It

Donations are the solution to the comment crisis.

Would you use a donations feature on Steem?

I have had a VISION!

So yea, just a few times.


What Steem has now, is a ton of functionality. But it's severely lacking in "features". To define those in the context that I'm using...

  • A Functionality is something the blockchain has the capability of doing.
  • A Feature is a functionality implemented into something a user engages with that hopefully gives them a positive user experience and solves some problem for them.

For each functionality, you can have several features. ie different ways of doing the same thing.

Some very powerful functionalities of the Steem blockchain are

  • Upvotes
  • Direct Transfers
  • Beneficiary System
  • Delegation

Now think to yourself how many features there are for these functionalities. How easy are they to do? How easy are they to learn about? How easy are they to access? How intuitively are they implemented?

I won't go into breaking each one down because most of you can answer these questions for yourselves. The main one I want to focus on is Direct Transfers.


I'm running a little promotion for my new community Steem Think Tank where I'm paying participants 10 Steem each to make a post in the community answering a survey about Steem. (Still 5 slots open as of now btw, paying the first 10)

If I wanted to offer around the same reward with upvotes, I'd have to be a whale. I'd have to have hundreds of thousands of Steem, or I can buy about $13 worth of Steem and pay people via a direct transfer. As a user, I'd like it to be clearly evident, as soon as you land on this communities page, that all these participants have been paid, by me, without the necessity of leaving this page or even understanding much about Steem. I'd like to be able to COMMUNICATE with my transfers in the same way that I communicate with my upvotes.

I not only would like to be able to communicate as in this case for some promotion, but if I had tools like I've mocked up here, I would only reward comments with direct transfers. It would probably "cost" me less in the end vs the voting power that I burn up by upvoting comments with enough VP to make them actually pay something out.

Imagine if tomorrow you woke up and all the Steem frontends hid how many, and how much each post made and you had to go to your wallet and figure out how much each post made by adding them up individually. I know a few people who have called for just that, but in reality I think it would be catastrophic to the already struggling user experience here. Well that's how we handle transfers and we're completely squandering an incredibly powerful functionality by not developing any features around it.

This is especially vexing to me recently because I'm looking at LBRY, a platform that EXCLUSIVELY uses this and they are being covered more favorably than Steem. Now that I've been using LBRY for a while I can tell you Steem has MUCH more functionality, but most of it people don't bother using because...*deep breath


That is all. Enjoy the rest of your day :D


I think this is a great idea! I'm willing to work on a Hivemind implementation for a tipping system, so that the backend can support this.

With Hivemind, associating specific payments to posts/comments is possible (I already implemented that for Native Ad payments).

What do you need? Let's get it done.


Added to the list of new Hivemind features to work on; together with polls and discussion rooms :)

So many features to work on, so little time... this will be fun :)

Over the next few days, I'll start preliminary studies to map out the scope of the work.

After working on the ideas some, I'll share a post (in your community) with a brief, non-technical overview of how I propose to implement it and what will be available to front-ends, so that everyone can review/discuss.

Looking forward to it!

This will be great. Looking forward to what you come up with.

Well this work with tribes? both in Steem/SBD and the tribes native token.
A tipping system for our adult content would be great.


What if account creation credits were made transferrable (and only requiring posting key). They could be used as on-chain tipping token without involving active key. And the claim op could be reduced to posting auth as well. Would allow users to harvest tips based on their SP and create an RC sink. Someone could also launch an invite service which allows users to trade these tokens for invites.

wow, this sounds to be a brilliant idea. i can already envision decentralization of account creation for new users for mass adoption. quite surprising!!

I think that would be awesome in addition to this, but not instead of for a few reasons.
It would require a lot more prerequisite knowledge to understand what it is.
It wouldn't be much of a resource for a new user and would still require a large investment to be able to use it and feel like you're participating.
Less accessible, not on exchanges etc.

I do think it would be great and super useful, just not a replacement for a simple transfer with an association to a post/comment.

Whaleshares has changed to a fully tip based model. There is stake based daily reward for all holders of WLS and you can choose to keep it or use some to tip good posts. There were many not happy when it came in, mostly the ones who just upvoted their own posts and those of their circle. Many had their doubts that people would reach into their own pocket and tip good content creators. Well a few months in and people are happy to tip. It is like busking and for me personally it is working quite well.
Your suggestion of adding it as a feature on top could be a great test maybe Steempeak could make it so.
ps I must check out Lbry

Didn't know that's the route they took, that's really interesting.

I only see people tipping each other though. I don't see new users benefitting from the tipping that much at all. At least with a vote, a person can later rescind it if they find out that the stuff they voted on was someone else's work. That doesn't exist there.

I think new users would be some of the greatest beneficiaries with this. Reason why is as a new user, how long till you can really participate in the system? How much SP do you have to have to have a .01 cent upvote. I think it's a poor user experience for new users to come in and feel like they're on the outside looking in unless they invest a relatively large amount of money considering they're probably coming from platforms where everything is free.

Again LBRY is the proof of what I'm saying, everyone is tipping each other, I started getting tipped immediately. It's just a different culture because the culture will follow the features you develop for the users to use. You said you're not that into the blogging part of Steem, but that's what the vast majority of the users are doing here, so I think it would dramatically lower the barrier to entry for those people.

Why not have both?

That's what I'm suggesting, not this as a replacement for upvotes.

I’d love to see that change. It’s just a simple front end change as well.

Things are a bit quiet at the moment on Whaleshares regarding new people coming in. Each member still needs to be approved by the witnesses but when they do arrive they get a lot of support from the existing community and quickly gain staked wls to allow them to use the network.
Whether this tipping system will work or not in the long term is anyone's guess but it is nice to see other approaches on how to distribute tokens from the pool.

Each member still needs to be approved by the witnesses

No, if you know someone with an account who's willing to pay to create you an account you can. And even in the past, a pay to create account system existed.

This is especially vexing to me recently because I'm looking at LBRY, a platform that EXCLUSIVELY uses this and they are being covered more favorably than Steem.

LBRY also solved a bunch of other problems with UX design that steem has still yet to properly solve even in the beta version of the new UI. Honestly, steems voting system is pretty good, it just encourages weird behavior in its current design.

I would suggest that in order for peoples full voting power to be reached they the overall number of upvotes need to be accounted for. You should not even be close to reaching 100% of your collective voting power unless you are at least in the top 1000 most upvoted posts on the platform for that 24 hour schedule.

LBRY also solved a bunch of other problems with UX design that steem has still yet to properly solve even in the beta version of the new UI.

Yea, some notable things are the bounties for new users completing simple initial steps, I think that's really good. The experience there just feels really connected. I've mentioned before it seems like on Steem people focus on solving one problem, which is a strength on one hand, but the flaw is everything is so disconnected that if you're new everything feels like an incomplete product.

I would suggest that in order for peoples full voting power to be reached they the overall number of upvotes need to be accounted for. You should not even be close to reaching 100% of your collective voting power unless you are at least in the top 1000 most upvoted posts on the platform for that 24 hour schedule.

Having a hard time wrapping my head around this. So instead of your VP being on a timer, it would fill based on how many upvotes you get?

Agree it’s needed, and have been told it’s easy to implement. But this isn’t a chain based change, so essentially it just requires a front end to implement it and there are some difficulties with setting multiple wallets (if you want to accept multiple currencies).. I actually have been looking at the spankpay system and wondered if that was something that could be just integrated (as they have the wallet thing already figured out).

But yes, fully agree this is needed.

In your vision though is this over and above inflation rewards? Or does it replace them?

I'd be over the moon for just Steem and SBD functionality tbh. It would be great if from there things could be expanded to other coins but from where we are that feels like fantasyland.

This would be in addition to inflationary rewards. I think that system CAN work, but the only way it makes sense to me is if you create something that has income and use that income as an offset to inflation. I'm hoping that post SMT's the conversation shifts to letting SMT's handle the inflationary rewards and basically giving the economy a reboot.

I agree, and also agree that STEEM/SBD is a great place to start.. and I have no idea why it doesn’t exist yet 😂

Thank you for continuing to bring light to this, the topic has come up often in chats lately and I try to bug people about it frequently. Honestly I also find it interesting to see other sites get coverage when in comparison steem is just better. I think tipping will add an aspect that many would appreciate.

I also have been chatting with the spankpay ceo and it seems their system can easily be integrated 👀 through an api end point. I’m just not sure how well the brand will mix with the one here lol. But hey.. it would be amazing to have tipping in STEEM, SBD, ETH, BTC.. etc etc etc. I personally think that with upcoming communities would make this place damn attractive to outsiders.

Anyways, thanks again for keeping these great ideas coming!

I’ve always felt like the Brave browser and BAT token make a good complement to the Steem economy too. As they’ve built systems that make tipping to individual creators available on Twitter, YouTube, etc. I’m sure it’s technologically feasible for Steem based sites, but maybe not currently worth the effort due to our small userbase.

Well i'm on board and it's a to-do ticket for

However we have a few things ahead of it like communities and guest commenting and features that make the site easier for non-steem users... etc.

Also love to see it decentralized ... aka in the tracking of donations and association with either Post or User.

cc: @asgarth

That's good to hear @jarvie! What do you mean about it being decentralized? Like instead of it being a feature of the frontend it's some other thing that the frontends use?

The donation button should be an easy frontend implementation. Just a shortcut for transaction.

The way I envision it would be slightly more than that as you'd need to store that that transfer was associated with a certain post or comment, but yea other than that, I'd assume it would be pretty easy, but I'm not a developer so I can't say for certain.

memo field can be used to associate transfer with a URL.

Ahh, so yea, seems like it should be pretty easy to implement. Maybe people just need to make some noise to let devs know this is something they want. At one point it was supposed to get added to Nitrous but it never happened.

in @steempeak in profile page there is an send steem button so it feels that it would not be that hard to add it into posts and comments but the info part may be a bit harder (have no coding skills so it is just a guess)

Learned a lot here.. Thank u very much!!! UPVOTED

Now that we have Communities, how difficult do you think something like a tipping system would be to implement? Would it require a lot of time (days, weeks, months)?

One of the major advantages of Communities was that frontend development would be greatly simplified and so sped up quite significantly. So I'm really keen to see how easy and fast such ideas for user experience improvements can be implemented.

I really can't say. My assumption is that this would be easy, but sometimes things that seem easy are more complex than they look on the surface. Either way, hard or easy, I think it would be worth it.

A tipping system is much easier to understand than our curation with all its rules for a new arrival. Let's count that in. They can coexist, but we need a tipping system and I love your mockup.

Love the way you write, funny and convincing.

The steem keychain extension makes it really easy to tip someone(2 clicks and username needed). But I agree that an onsite feature will have to be added eventually.

Still steemit community beta website working?

The tipping idea is pretty cool and while my first reaction was "but we have ginabot to know how much goes into our wallet for that", I get your point about the ease of use.

Is the Survey thing still going on?

Yes, there are still two slots for the survey. I said I'd pay the first 10. Make sure to read the conditions, well it's just to

  • Subscribe to the community
  • Resteem the post
  • Make the post in the Steem Think Tank community.

So yea go for it! :)

Awesome. Already done the first two.

update: I've taken the survey

🎁 Hi @midlet! You have received 0.1 STEEM tip from @cardboard!

Check out @cardboard blog here and follow if you like the content :)

Sending tips with @tipU - how to guide.

Of course I find myself responding before reading in it's entirety the post. I just find myself strongly agreeing with you on a few points, especially about the community just seeming to... fail in areas. It seems a beautiful premise, what it is, what it offers and what we imagine it could be. It just seems to.... stagnate into what it is and continues to be.

I am just returning after a long while but did start steemit a few months after it started. Was active for awhile and just got too caught up in it and had to step back. Came back after a year for awhile, and now after two years. I don't notice much terribly different, with the exception of some advertising banners.

It is what it is, and what it is isn't bad.... but I agree there is something keeping it from being adopted by more and it's hard to watch what you think (know) could help it fall on deaf ears.

Anyway, I have several of your other posts open in new tabs to read after I finish this one.... but I am enjoying, thanks.

Hi @clevercross, for something new you should check out, it's the new version of Steemit that's on the horizon :)

dude I barely care about the version now. I got wrapped up when it launched and I sometimes come back hoping.... but it is never any different. Same people same posts.... no thanks

Thanks for the post.

Indeed I agree in tipping being a secondary option it will help improve the rate at which steem can be distributed and redistributed and allow posts to be rewarded well after the 7 day period

People are already doing this via the wallet and Vimm.TV has a native tipping button on its front end that I’ve used in the past.

it would be nice to have it associated with posts and make it more visually appealing to the user both in and outside steem

What would be cool is also have a tab for heights donations so you can see which posts got the most donations like with trending

When you make it an integral part of the experience people who don’t get the inflation pool will understand this

Donations can also be intergrated with tools like steem engine and blocktrades or even PayPal and people could tip in other currencies to have it converted into steem too!

Bringing money outside steem into steem too! People understand donations which is why superchats are becoming more popular on YouTube and twitch is based on donations and subs

Exactly. Once you start going down that rabbit hole, you see that we're sitting on something SUPER powerful.

Exactly and what would be a more powerful PR and marketing statement than donations with zero transaction fees! Creators get all the funds

Excellent points!

Thanks mate